my lately

On the family front, I’ve been whisked into a vortex of change. Change that feels vast, in territory that is uncharted. Each of us is leaping into the fray simultaneously: a final year of middle school for one; a first year of university and a move to a new city for another; new jobs for two of us; graduate studies and an engagement. This is exciting, without doubt. There’s a sense that we’re propelling life in a direction that feels distinctly different and curious and purposeful. But it has also, at times, been exhausting to keep my eyes, ears and heart attuned to all the aspects of these enormous shifts in our lives. Difficult, as a solo parent, to maintain a bird’s-eye view of it all and devote enough attention to ensure that no one’s needs are underestimated or cast off. With four children, it is near impossible to feel as though I’m not short-changing someone.

In the midst of all this, summer is slipping away. I can’t even say that I’ve been able to harness enough time away from work, or the resources, to commemorate it with much in the way of “good old-time” summer memories. The sort that involves vacation highlights, road trips, cottages, festivals and cool, placid lakes. This summer’s been a bit of a bust that way. Pleasure has been found in small ways and in small moments. And I’ve fiercely protected that space. When the buzz of the restaurant kitchen has stopped dogging me. When I’ve been able to disengage from stress by making a conscious decision to set worries aside and immerse myself in a book, film or an afternoon spent sharing conversation, dreams, plans and drinks with a friend. That’s when joy has found me. Friends have made sure of that. There have been gifts of veggies and herbs fresh from the garden, books and magazines shared, thrift store treasures received, and as always, the gentle, keen insights of friends and family whose willingness to listen and ponder along with me has held the greatest value of all.

A few weeks ago, I made a decision to leave the chaos of the kitchen I’m presently working in and accept another offer. I couldn’t be happier about this. So much so, that when I’m mired in dissatisfaction at work, I visualize what I call “Red Circle Day”β€”the calendar date on which I will be leaving. Keeping that in sight is the impetus that makes the climb towards the end of the month less exhausting.

Tomorrow, Number Four returns from the wild. This has been his third year of overnight-camp. A week spent living on the land, sleeping under a canopy of trees, developing survival skills and deepening trust, self-awareness and gratitude for the gifts that nature bestows on us. I can’t wait to see him! A bit more ragged, a lot more dirty and always profoundly changed by his experiences.

This summer has been far from idyllic. Perhaps some of you feel that way too. Sometimes life has other plans for us, requiring that we dig deeply to be more present, open and courageous enough to square off against challenges.Β  It’s not that the hand I was dealt was utter crap this summer. Far from it. Rather, I just wouldn’t have minded sorting out so many of the details sitting on the end of a dock, gazing at the stars …

fresh-garden-tomatoes

garden-tomatoes-and-fresh-herbs

garden-tomatoes-with-basil-and-rosemary

summer-breakfast

kitchen-ladder

kitchen-ladder-and-tea-towels

morning-glory-screen

morning-glory-porch-screen

denver-on-the-porch

photos by: bliss {in images}

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